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Life and Work with Yvonne Conti-O’Brien

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yvonne Conti-O’Brien.

Yvonne, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
After baking cookies for the first time in at least 15 years and being told by everyone that ate them how amazing they are, I started giving them to our FedEx delivery man. He was the one that dubbed me The Cookie Lady. He told me I should sell them and it got my wheels turning. I had such a passion for baking drop cookies that I started realizing that when someone named an ingredient, I knew I could make a cookie out of it! Our youngest son, Alec, was my strongest supporter. He truly believed that I could start a business. A few weeks later, I knew in my heart that the name had to be Red Rooster Cookie Jar; I own a red rooster cookie jar, my kitchen is all roosters, and I have red hair! I started offering a cookie of the week to try out my new recipes and so that it would peak customers’ interest and keep them coming back to see what I baked next. I used to sell at farmer’s markets and festivals, and we often sold out in just a few hours.

When the pandemic hit and all those things shut down, a local farm opened their land to a bunch of vendors from the farmers market. Now, even more people were finding out about us, and our customers were traveling to get our cookies. I was delivering cookies to a friend at the same time that a local farmer, who owns an old-time country store, was delivering groceries to my friend., Dawn. Well, Dawn gave her one of my cookies and she said, “we have to have you in our store”! It’s been a year, and our products are still going strong at Brown’s Country Market in Oxford, FL. We still offer a new cookie of the week, every week, and people come from as far as an hr away to get our cookies when the cookie of the week comes out on Thursdays.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I have been extremely fortunate in the growth of my company which has had a steady income growth from day one. Every year I’m more amazed. The struggle has been in the bootstrapping for everything I have and in trying to open a storefront.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Oftentimes people think of cookie artists as someone who does decorate sugar cookies, but my artistry is in my flavors of drop cookies. I have over 100 flavors of cookies and about 14 of them are after alcohol drinks. I’m so proud of my flavors because I did not grow up baking. I didn’t learn it from anyone. I’m completely self-taught. I read articles. If I have a question about the why then I research it. We have a technique and a method to our mixing. It’s always in the same order. I know the dough is done by the way it feels. I’m proud of teaching myself how to make sweetbreads and making them my own. I practice my sweetbreads, but I don’t practice my cookies. When I create a new recipe, I have a vision of what the end result will be. It turns out that way the first time I bake it. I’m not quite sure how I do it, but I feel I’ve been given a gift.

How do you think about happiness?
Watching someone bite into my cookies for the first time! It’s my happy place. I’m never more proud than at that moment I see the look of pure happiness on someone’s face.

Pricing:

  • Baker’s dozen – $12.50
  • Two dz – $23.00
  • Medium tray – $33.00
  • Large tray – $44
  • Extra large tray – $55.00

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Alec O’Brien Yvonne Conti-O’Brien

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